Top focus areas for tech teams in 2024

18 January 2024

In our second post on priorities for the year ahead, people in our technology services team share their agendas – and how they’d like the people they work with to respond.

Harnessing the power of AI

The power of AI has enormous potential to help organisations in ways people could only have dreamed of a few short years ago - but it needs to be done in the right way,” says Lee Foster, chief technology officer.

“Having the right infrastructure, frameworks and governance in place is critical in ensuring that AI is being employed effectively, responsibly and ethically at scale. This means considering not only the technical skills, training data and infrastructure required, but also putting in place the means to ensure data integrity and privacy, fairness and equity, transparency and explainability, human agency and wellbeing and accountability for AI-driven solutions.

“Fundamentally, these wider ethical considerations are the difference between having the capability to deliver AI solutions, and having the capability to deliver AI solutions that you can trust. So, top of my agenda for 2024 is the deeper exploration of how we can harness the potential of AI to make life better for our clients and for our business.”

Lee Foster headshot in a circle frame.

This also resonates with Gordon Murray, head of architecture. “By far the biggest thing on my mind for 2024 is how AI will reshape and even redefine what we do and how we do it,” he says. “There have been huge leaps forward with AI in 2024 already and many people feel that artificial general intelligence (AGI) is around the next corner – with recent breakthroughs in multi-model models a significant factor in that.

“We know that the jobs we do today aren't going to be the same jobs we do in the future - jobs exist today like prompt engineer that didn't exist even a year ago. We need to understand how to work with AI in a sustainable, ethical and secure way that empowers people and helps them transfer their skills and use new tools in a way that makes the very use of their expertise – minimising the mundane less impactful tasks we often do.”

Gordon Murray headshot in circle frame

And for Andy McMurray, head of product delivery, the key interest is how AI can scale.

“I'm really excited to see society and organisations move beyond the hype of AI that has been a central theme of 2023 and see how we can really begin to industrialise into our processes at scale,” he says. “There has been so much excitement over the last year, alongside so many forms of AI emerging, but I think we are still only at the very tip of the iceberg. 

“For some organisations, simply unpacking their current processes and thinking about where AI could help improve user experience alongside driving efficiencies will be a difficult task, and I'm looking forward to helping our clients tackle this.”

Headshot of Andy McMurray in circle frame.

Ensuring a sustainable approach to technology

“The technology industry should be sustainable by default – both in terms of the environmental impact of software and its social impact”, says Adam Coles, head of sustainable services.

“There are some things we can do quickly – including training our people in good practice that aligns with sustainability goals. To go beyond that and make real change, we have to build the right relationships with our clients. We know that creating sustainable software aligns with our clients’ strategic goals, including commitments to net zero, sustainable procurement, and social impact.

“My job is to work with our clients who can influence and to share our vision. We have an opportunity to expand industry knowledge in this space. We're a relatively small business, but we can be an example and share developing practices with others.

“Some of our clients are already making positive moves - we see people being appointed into heads of digital sustainability roles, for example. Those are the people we'd love to have conversations with to try and understand how we can help them deliver more sustainable digital services that are good for both people and planet.”

Headshot of Adam Coles in circle frame.

Responding to the growing cyber risk

Ros Grindrod, head of security services, says: “The heightened prevalence of cyber-attacks poses substantial risks to UK businesses, demanding strategic and vigilant responses. As digital dependence grows, businesses face increased vulnerabilities, with threats ranging from ransomware to data breaches. The financial, reputational, and operational consequences of such attacks underscore the imperative for proactive measures.

“Effective responses involve robust cybersecurity frameworks encompassing advanced threat detection, encryption, and employee training. Collaborating with cybersecurity experts to regularly assess and fortify defences is paramount.

“Additionally, implementing incident response plans ensures swift and decisive action in the event of a breach. Heightened regulatory compliance and cyber insurance adoption further mitigate risks.

“As cyber threats evolve, continuous adaptation and investment in cutting-edge technologies become critical components of safeguarding business integrity in the digital age. A collective commitment to cybersecurity, both within individual enterprises and across industries, is essential to fortify the UK business landscape against the escalating cyber menace.”

Headshot of Ros Grindrod in circle frame.

Making solutions that work for and won’t harm users

Emily Allinson, head of user-centred design, says: “As always, with the excitement of a new year and the promise of new tech, my priority will be to ask the hard questions about who the proposed solution is serving, what their needs are, and what possible harm it might cause. AI is a great example, where we’ll be working hard with clients to balance the rush to adopt with a thoughtful approach to how it’s meeting user needs. Specifically for 2024, we’re better able to do this as we integrate newer lenses and approaches into our UCD work, like sustainability, security, social impact and data. Evolving our approach will help us get closer to the core questions of how we can build tech that’s ethical, safe, human-focused and sustainable.”

Headshot of Emily Allinson in circle frame.

Aligning development practices with the increased focus on sustainable and ethical solutions

“Demands for sustainable and ethical technology solutions are increasing across industry”, says David Sarginson, head of software delivery. “I face myriad responsibilities that are critical to organisational success.

“We need to ensure that we’re aligning existing development practices with environmental and societal considerations. If this is not done this year, it could be make or break for established technology consultancies.

“In my day-to-day work, my top areas of focus for 2024 are: fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning; staying abreast of emerging technologies to ensures the team remains competitive and adaptable, and establishing robust development standards and processes and to meet client expectations.”


Published: 18 January 2024

Headshot of David Sarginson in circle frame.

Related insights